Sunrise to sunset, senior does it all

red+rhythum

Brian Higgins

Wake up, dance, school, band, repeat. Senior Valerie Miller juggles her final year in high school alongside her extracurriculars.

Her days often begin before the sun rises, and frequently end long after the sun has set.

But for senior Valerie Miller, it’s what she needs to do as she juggles marching band and Red Rhythm

“If we have games on Thursdays we have morning practice on Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday is, like, after school practice with band, and we also have classes,” Miller said. 

“After the marching practices I have to go home and eat and, like, shower and stuff, so after that I can finally start studying and my schoolwork. But I also have to prepare for the next day, so I don’t really have time to, like, manage my schoolwork, so I do everything on the weekend and stuff. It’s really hard.”

I also have to prepare for the next day, so I don’t really have time to manage my schoolwork, so I do everything on the weekend and stuff. It’s really hard,”

— Valerie Miller

The price of stress and limited time due to dance and band doesn’t come without a prize, though. 

“I really love football season and competition season,” Miller said. “In football season you get to go to the games and on competition days, the day of the competition, it feels really long, because you get to perform and eat and watch other bands.”

Her foray into music began in first grade. It began with piano, then flute, and now the piccolo.

“Piccolo is harder than flute to tune, and you have to be- it’s the highest instrument in the band,” Miller said. “You have to listen to everyone and blend with them, and be on top of everyone to shine.”

Although she’s been playing an instrument since elementary school, she began dancing at an even younger age. 

“When I was three years old, I used to do ballet for, like, a year, and in elementary school I used to do gymnastics,” Miller said. “After that, my fourth grade until eighth grade I was doing hip hop.”

But it wasn’t until halfway through high school, she decided to try both band and dance at the same time. 

“At the first football game I saw Red Rhythm dancing on the field and I was, like, thinking, like, it’s really cool,” Miller said. “I didn’t know, like, if I could handle my schoolwork with band and drill team, so I waited until junior year to join both.”

Her ability to balance both activities doesn’t go unnoticed by her teachers. 

“Valerie works hard, she’s talented, we can always count on her to be prepared and ready,” Red Rhythm director Nicole Nothe said. “Whatever’s most urgent, she goes with that. She’s good at communicating.”

Valerie works hard, she’s talented, we can always count on her to be prepared and ready. Whatever’s most urgent, she goes with that,”

— Red Rhythm coach Nicole Nothe

Miller is unsure whether she wants to pursue band or dance in college, but she is starting to form an idea.

“I haven’t decided my major yet, so I don’t really know,” Miller said. “But I kinda wanna do marching band in college.”